There are lots of hymns that express my religion. And there are lots of popular-genre songs that express my thoughts on various and sundry secular matters. But what’s rare is a song that sings like a pop song while also getting right to the heart of religious questions. Jessica Martin, with what she calls “an agnostic-gospel song, the first of its kind,” has hit that sweet spot with a deceptively simple song.
“So don’t be blind to the beauty . . .
Cause there’s plenty to be grateful for, and love is all around,
And we’ll be there for each other till the end.”
People sometimes ask how a theology without any God, plan, or eschatology (that is, confident predictions about the ultimate destiny of humanity) can guide a person in life, much less guide a community. Despite three degrees in religious studies, 18 years of ordained ministry, plenty of practice delivering “elevator speeches,” and a solid sense of having the guidance I need, I sometimes struggle to respond succinctly. Jessica’s song helps. “There may not be a guiding hand”; life is not pure evil nor pure good; we know there’s plenty wrong with this world. We shine our light, not because there’s no other source of light, but because we need each other. We put our faith in each other despite our flaws, and notice beauty wherever we can, not because this short life is the only one we’re going to get, but because it’s the only one of which we can be certain. That’s a pretty good summation of my theology. I don’t know how this will all end (my life, your life, humanity, the universe), but let’s be there for each other till the end.
“So this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
I hope you’ll let it shine on you.”
Jessica is a member of UUCPA, and I hope she’ll sing this song in our service soon!